Salesman • 1h 31m
Directed by David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin • 1969 • United States
This radically influential portrait of American dreams and disillusionment from Direct Cinema pioneers David Maysles, Albert Maysles, and Charlotte Zwerin captures, with indelible humanity, the worlds of four dogged door-to-door Bible salesmen as they travel from Boston to Florida on a seemingly futile quest to sell luxury editions of the Good Book to working-class Catholics. A vivid evocation of midcentury malaise that unfolds against a backdrop of cheap motels, smoky diners, and suburban living rooms, SALESMAN assumes poignant dimensions as it uncovers the way its subjects’ fast-talking bravado masks frustration, disappointment, and despair. Revolutionizing the art of nonfiction storytelling with its nonjudgmental, observational style, this landmark documentary is one of the most penetrating films ever made about how deeply embedded consumerism is in America’s sense of its own values.
Up Next in Salesman
Recorded exclusively for the Criterion Collection in 2001, this commentary features directors Albert Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin.
Albert and David Maysles on SALESMAN
“Newsweek” critic Jack Kroll interviewed Albert and David Maysles upon the theatrical release of SALESMAN. This interview aired in 1969 as part of a WCBS-TV series called “Camera Three.”
Bill Hader on SALESMAN
Actor Bill Hader shares his appreciation for SALESMAN and the work of Albert and David Maysles—as well as his experience parodying that work in his television series “Documentary Now!,” in this interview, recorded for the Criterion Collection in 2019.